The Supreme Court has on Wednesday imposed Rs 5 crore fine on Saraswati Medical College (a private medical college) in Unnao, for granting admission to students in violation of the regulations of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
A division Bench of Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Ravindra Bhat heard a plea filed by Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust challenging the 2017 notice issued by the Medical Council of India, that had directed the Saraswati Medical College to discharge 132 out of 150 students admitted in the first year of MBBS course, for the academic year 2017-2018. The top court noted that the said College has admitted 132 students on its own, without seeking a nod from Director General Medical Education (DGME), Uttar Pradesh.
The Court refused to condone the violation made by College in providing admission to 132 students on its own and permitting them to continue despite the Medical Council of India’s direction to discharge them and directed the College to deposit Rupees Five Crores to the Supreme Court’s Registry for intentionally violating the regulations.
“Intentional violation of the regulations by the college while granting admission to 132 students in the first year MBBS course for the academic year 2017-2018 cannot be condoned. The Petitioner-College is directed to deposit an amount of Rs 5 crore in the Registry of this Court within a period of 8 weeks from today,” stated the division bench.
However, the top court held that canceling the admission of the students would serve no purpose, but directed them to do 2-year community service after their MBBS course while citing that they were not innocent and that they knew their names were not recommended by the DGME.
The apex court also directed the medical college not to recover the amount from the students in any manner whatsoever.
The NMC will decide the details and work out the modalities of the community service to be rendered by the 132 students, the bench said.
The University is directed to conduct the second year MBBS examination for 126 students admitted in the petitioner-college and who completed their second-year course at the earliest and declare their results.
“They shall be permitted to complete the MBBS course. This direction is issued only to save the students from losing three academic years in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case and shall not be treated as a precedent,” the apex court said.
“We direct the National Medical Commission (NMC) to constitute a Trust which shall include the Accountant General of the State of Uttar Pradesh, an eminent educationist and a representative of the State of Uttar Pradesh as Members of the Trust,” said the top court bench.
“The Trust constituted to manage Rs 5 crore to be deposited by the Petitioner-College shall extend financial assistance to needy students seeking admission to medical colleges in the State of Uttar Pradesh,” SC said.
An Action Taken Report (ATR) along with the copy of the Trust-Deed be filed by the NMC within 12 weeks from today, the court added.
Saraswati Medical College, established by Saraswati Educational Charitable Trust applied for a grant of renewal of permission for admission of 150 students for the academic year 2017-2018. However, after inspections were conducted, renewal of permission was not granted by an order dated 10 August 2017.
Thereafter, the Supreme Court through its order dated 1 September 2017 directed the respondents, including the Union of India and Medical Council of India to permit the College to take part in the counseling process for the year 2017-2018, and extended the cut-off date for completion of admission in respect of the College till 5 September 2017. The Court also directed the respondents to make available students willing to take admission in the College through central counseling in order of merit.
The Director-General of Medical Education and Training was requested by the college to provide a list of students from the NEET 2017 merit list to enable the College to take admission before the deadline.
The Director-General of Medical Education informed all eligible students about the order passed by the Supreme Court allowing Saraswati Medical College to participate in counseling, asking them to register themselves for admission to the first-year MBBS course in the College. This was followed by 735 students applying within the time schedule for admission to 150 seats in the College. After receiving applications from the students, the Director-General forwarded a list of 150 students on the basis of their merit amongst 735 students, but only 9 out of those 150 students reported and completed their admission formalities by the last date.
The college then wrote to the Director-General asking for more names from the list of 735 students and issued an urgent notice itself to all the 735 students to avail the opportunity of admission in the college that would be made on the basis of merit. The College filled up a total of 132 seats on 5 September on its own and without being recommended by the Director-General. The Medical Council of India then wrote a letter and directed the Principal of the Saraswati Medical College to discharge the 132 students who were admitted in violation of the Medical Council of India Regulations on Graduate Medical Education 1997.
Thereafter, a writ petition was filed by the college challenging the Medical Council of India’s direction through its letter dated 29th Sept 2017. Meanwhile, the students were permitted to take the examinations for the first-year MBBS course by the Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court on 22 July 2019 directed the result of the first year MBBS course to be declared provisionally, but subject to the outcome of the Writ Petition. The Court had clarified that the students cannot claim any equities on the declaration of the result. The students thereafter approached the Court in 2021 seeking a direction to permit them to appear in the second year MBBS examinations.